Mt. Gox founder, Mark Karpeles begins fraud trial in Tokyo

After a brief aside yesterday to explain the bizarre circumstances of my hospitalization, we’ll get back to the financial news and thank you for all the kind messages.

The trial of former Mt. Gox chief executive officer Mark Karpeles began Tuesday in Tokyo. He is charged with embezzlement and fraud stemming from the collapse of then the world’s most-active trading platform for buying and selling digital currencies.

Almost  850,000 bitcoins – then worth about $500M — were stolen in a hack disclosed in February 2014, along with $28 million in cash from the exchange’s bank accounts. In today’s falling bitcoin price the same amount would be valued at just under $2B.

Karpeles, a 32-year-old Frenchman, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, but acknowledges the transfers. This is the first time he has addressed the charges publicly after the bankruptcy filing in 2014.

“I swear to God that I am innocent,” he said in Japanese to the three-judge panel hearing his case, according to the pool report.

No word on how long the trial will last, but in its bankruptcy filing Gox reported that about 200,000 bitcoin were recovered after the alleged hack.

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